Altruistic Politicians Evidence from Charitable Giving

32 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2023


AbstractThis paper analyzes the relationship between charitable giving and political candidacy. It uses comprehensive individual-level Norwegian register data, which is combined with data on the universe of candidates running for local election (2003-2019). These data include information on tax-deductible donations to approved organizations (2004-2018). Existing and new evidence suggests these gifts are an expression of altruistic preferences. The average politician is more generous than the general population, both prior to, during, and after they were elected to public office. An event study indicates that contributions are stable throughout their careers. Gift-giving citizens are at least 50% more likely to run for election, while their seat-winning chances are marginally higher. Highly ranked incumbents tend to contribute more, potentially facilitated by parties prioritizing donors for faster career progression.

Keywords: Altruism, political selection, charitable giving, Norway

Suggested Citation

Sørensen, Rune, Altruistic Politicians Evidence from Charitable Giving. Available at SSRN: or

Rune Sørensen (Contact Author)

BI Norwegian Business School

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